The SLOG of Joy

Grumble. Growl. Grunt.

.   Swear. Sweat. Stomp.

. Punch. Pound. Pant.

.  Breathe. Binge. Boss.

.  Shout. Scream, Smear.

.  Fall in a heap, exhausted. Then get up, clean up, and do it all over again.

.  There is joy in this. This “living” we do. No matter how sweaty, or dirty, or ugly, this “living” is a beautiful thing.

.   There is no ‘give up’ here, no ‘quit’ , no ‘over it, no ‘packing it in’.

This is where every. breath. matters.

.    DO YOU HEAR ME?

EVERY BREATH MATTERS.

Right now, in my little trailer in the middle of down, down, way down and out USA, I am deciding to care. I am deciding that my sufferings will amount to something, that all this silence and fear and worry  in my heart will be done away with, that with this breath of life my Creator blessed me with will be used to help someone else live, too.

.  I know I’m a rag-tag mess. I can’t think straight most of the time, and there are days I can’t leave my house. I am oppressed by an illness that tells me I don’t have it, and that feeling like I’m sick is a sin. I’m not exhausted, it tells me, I’m lazy. I’m not in excruciating pain, I’m a dope seeker. I was not abused, assaulted and raped, I was promiscuous.

.  I am here, I am now, and with my God’s help, I will reach out to someone else. And with my God’s help, I will not believe the lies. Instead I believe the Bible, God’s own letter to me, and to all his children. I want to live.

A Psalm of My Own

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.           Jehovah knows my suffering, hears my pleas each day

.          He knows the pain this madness brings, knows I’m made of clay

.          I thought I’d be forsaken, and all my hope was lost

.          I struggled to awaken, eternal darkness was the cost

.          But my God cares for me, He hears my cries and screams

.          He pulls me out of raging seas, makes pleasant peaceful dreams

.          How can I show my thankfulness, show Him my endless love?

.          I’ll walk with Him in faithfulness, Praise God in Heights above!

.          I will love my God whole-souled, pray, meditate and preach

.          No matter how lame, tired, sick or old, new sheep I will love and teach!

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Big Sky.(not my photo)

THE PAIN of it ALL

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What do I say to a black mother whose son was murdered at the hands, or knee, of a white man?

.   I saw George dying, in front of all the world, murdered. Every fiber of my being cried out for action to save him, knock that cop off of him, hurt those who were hurting him, scream “STOP!!!!!” at the loudest volume my wind and stretching vocal cords could scream. I saw him die. I could see the actual moment the life left him, we all could. His killer’s arrogance galled me, I cried as if George was my own. Those awful, endless minutes are now emblazoned on my conscience, and the world’s. But George’s suffering was finally over, the pain had ended for him. His family’s pain goes on.

.    My daddy died unjustly, and it took years for my anger and pain to subside. But, then, I am white. And it wasn’t a police organization, or even a police man who killed him. For me it was a hospital, who killed him just as surely as if they kneeled on his neck. And he was a Sicilian man, very dark complected, 1st generation borne of immigrants to this country, but I suppose he will be considered a “white” man by history.

.   But the pain I felt is the same pain George’s loved one’s feel in this sense: there was death, it was not natural, there was injustice, and there is anger. I feel it now, these years later. I was righteously indignant, I loved my daddy more than any girl ever loved her daddy, ever in the whole world. Whole universe I thought. I never saw his flaws, he was a hero to me, and they murdered him, and someone had to pay. I had to make it right , for him. For his memory.

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Another Day in Paradise

.   They hated me at that hospital, I believed. They had been out to get him, because we were poor, and because everyone knows doctors and hospitals only want one thing, right? Money. And we all know that there are very baaaad people in the medical field, there is a long, very, very long history of distrust in the Sicilian immigrant community against the “establishment”. It carried down from tyranny and mafioso, in the “home” country, where my ancestors were murdered and enslaved and oppressed by terrible injustice. Not only was the regime murderous and corrupt, even the local officials were, requiring payoffs and inflicting gross injustice and physical pain on the poor people who were supposed to be under their care. They had no choice, starve, be murdered, or board ships of misery with their last pennies to try living in a beckoning land across the great sea.

.  My granparents had experienced the ghettos in New York when they arrived, cramped, dirty, unlit, no facilities, living in dark, dank, freezing, stinking tenant housing in their new country. Now, instead of their tropical isle, where they knew the enemy, there were new enemies to contend with. Such hatred, such predjudice, such injustice, such poverty. All these conditions shaped the mentality of generations, the distrust of the “system”, the lack of eqaulity, the oppression…

.   My father was an angry man. For as far back as I have memory, he was mad at what he perceived as injustice in government. In another age pehaps he would have been a radical, I dont know. But he worked so hard, all his life, had  access to more education than his parents ever had, served in the military and was able to move to Florida in his early 50’s. which had been his lifelong dream. He never stopped working, even then, and I had everything I needed as his kid, except love. But I adored and idolized him, to my mother’s dismay. When I became his sole caregiver, he was my child, and I determined to never let anything bad happen to him. For all the grief I had put him through in my life as an addict, now that I was sober I would appease his every whim, and ease his Dementia and Alzheimer’s. He was my reason for being, for except for my dear shih-tzu’s I had lost everyone in my family, and had no children.

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Always a Dapper Dad

.    I was a she-bear when it came to his care. Endless research, talking to pro’s and others  on caring for the elderly. But no matter what I promised him, no matter how good I cared for him, and no matter how totally committed I was in my devotion, I was not able to save him from being killed.

.   So, then. What can I say to the millions of traumatized, oppressed, angry people who are fighting right now? They will do what they believe they must, to find relief for their anger. But to the loved ones of a man who died unjustly, there is something I can say, even in my proverbial “whiteness”:  I am so, so sad for you.  I can relate. I can relate to the sickening feeling in your gut, that horrendous hot ball of lead where your heart used to be. I  remember the anger, the absolute bursting feeling of helplessness, the burning knowledge that this should never have happened to your child, your son, your daddy, your husband, your brother, your uncle, your nephew, your cousin, your dear, dear friend. Your Beloved.   

.   My pain was real… Your’s is all too real right now. I will never question your pain, or think I know what you should feel, or do. I never want to exaccerbate your suffering. everyone grieves in a different way, for different lengths of time, for different reasons. there is never a right or wrong way to grieve. I wish you peace, someday…healing…a lessening of this great burden you carry.

.   My anger  was only relieved by my learning the true reason for death, suffering and in justice. Knowing and believing in the the knowledge that God will soon do away with the true source of the evils we experience as humans. the tormenter of us down thru the ages, all the way back to the garden of Eden. The father of the lie, Satan.

God had an answer to Satan’s lie right there on the spot: Jesus Christ, God’s Only-Begotten Son and The King of God’s Kingdom would crush Satan and throw him and all his cohorts into the Abyss!! It will happen very soon, when God says it is time! Then the words of Revelation will come true!

Revelation 21:3-5 reads:

.  ” With that I heard a loud voice from the throne say: “Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them , and they will be his people. And God himself will be with them.(4)And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”

(5) And the One seated on the throne said:”Look! I am making all things new.” Also he says:”Write, for these words are faithful and true.”

.   Such beautiful words…a beautiful dream, perhaps? No. A promised reality from our God who cannot lie, whose purposes always succeed, and whose prophecies always come true. I have a favorite scripture about the surety of all God’s promises coming true, maybe because I am a farmer at heart, who has always loved the rain.

.   This is in the Bible book of Isaiah, in Chapter 55, beginning in verse 8: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways,” declares Jehovah. (9) “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (10) For just as the rain and snow pour down from heaven And do not return there until they saturate the earth, making it produce and sprout, Giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,(11) So my word that goes out of my mouth will prove to be. It will not return to me without results, But it will certainly accomplish whatever is my delight, and it will have sure success in what I send it to do.”

.   Yes, The Creator of the entire Universe has everything taken care of, he has told us that he will be the only Judge, and His Son will carry out his Judgement.  The Ride of the Four Horsemen is already well underway.  One day soon our dead loved ones will be resurrected and what joy there will be, when this earth is finally free of evil and we will live forever in peace.Artwork and Pictures 056

.  Please take the time to learn what the Bible says, I want you to have the peace of mind and heart that I finally found. It is not too late, my friend.

I Will Tell the Truth Now

I will make a huge effort to tell the truth. I always fluff things up, until I am not even sure what my truth is. My Dad was a SUPER Exaggerator , and an Embellisher of the highest order, and I hung on his every word. I could see others staring up at him, eyes widened with amazement, intaken breath ready to burst out at the first opportunity… Then the woosh of exhalations and nervous laughter, trying to hide their excitement , pretending to their girlfriends that they already knew what he was going to say. They would kind of nudge each other and tilt their head at Dad, like he was their trick pony. But he had them ALL wrapped around his little finger, they couldn’t wait for his next story to start. And neither could I.

I wanted to have people hanging on MY every word, I wanted to be the hero in MY stories, and I wanted my Dad to love me more than anyone else in my life. It just seemed that part of his over-the-top charism hinged on his elevated status in his own mind too. He never had time for me, for any of us kids, or even Mum. He revolved around his own Sun, and basked in His own glow.

We just floated past like tiny moons.

a rainy day…missing you.

When I finally realized how little truth he told, it was years later. I was a grown woman, and my life had taken a long, arduous detor into hard drugs, hatred and homelessness. I had tried to destroy myself in every way imaginable, and nearly succeeded in some instances. There was a gradual awakening to the fact that I could never run far or fast enough to leave my memories behind, nor could I continue to carry the loathing I felt for myself and keep living.

I loathed my Daddy too. It was all his fault , really. If he had just NOTICED me. Or spoken to me, besides “good morning” and a whack on the back as he passed by. Maybe then I would have turned out different. …No. It took all those years on the outside to teach me how to live. To learn that he was as broken as me. That everyone is broken, and that the act of living is an act of mercy. To allow ourselves to heal, honestly. Peel off the Ugly Sweaters of years of Selfishness and Isolation. Take off the Dirty Overcoats of Lonliness and Shame, Step out of the Heavy Combat Boots of Hatred and Self Harm, Skin off the Sweaty Tee Shirt that holds our Sadness in, and let our Hearts breathe.

Let my heart breathe again, let a little sunlight into my greyeyes greyskies. I’m telling you the truth, that I hated my own Daddy, that I LoVe him madly down to this day. I hated myself because I let myself down. I blamed myself for all the badness that found it’s way on top of me. I never told my Daddy that I was Hurt, that I had been raped, that I had been beaten like a dog. How could he know?

It was my burden to carry. You carry your own water…you carry your own water. I wish I could have told him back then. He was my hero. My broken hero. I didn’t know that Daddy’s could be broken too.

I wonder sometimes what will become of me, who can I be a hero to? I think God is telling me something, wait… Oh, yeah, He’s Right! You know what he reminded me? That He is my Father, He is my Hero, and He’s taking care of me right now, and I will be with my Daddy one day soon.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

What this means to me :

I hope that it means that some where, in this great big world, a child won’t be violated tonight…because someone talked to a parent, a trusted adult, a mental health professional, a trusted member of law enforcement, a dear friend, and told them what had happened. And that the child in need was protected, held fast and kept safe, warm, and loved.

I hope that this year a young person remembers the warnings their elders give them about safety, about drinking, drugging and having sex, about going out with strangers, or getting into dangerous situations. That by remembering he/she sees the warning signs, feels the prickle of fear and runs home just as fast as their legs can carry them. I hope they tell their friends to leave too, to be brave enough NOT TO CARE WHAT THEIR FRIENDS THINK!  (I can tell you that, for me, those friends sided with my abusers the next day, and I was all alone in my shame and embarrassment and pain. My girlfriends laughed right along with the men at my torn undies hanging from a tree branch… )

Be AWARE !!!  BE aware of your surroundings, be aware of where the streetlights are, be aware and stay away from dark alleys, dense shrubbery and people who make you feel uncomfortable. Don’t tell yourself that you are just “being silly”.  I never thought ill of anyone when I was a kid,  I liked to be around older guys, and I thought they liked me…I never thought that I could be the one they raped- The other girls were pretty, and “sexy”.  I never thought a couple beers could hurt, or some weed-a few tokes, right? I was no match for an adults strength, especially not with my guard down and buzzed.

What I want you to know is that if I could turn back time, I would listen to people who told me to take care, but I know this is such a tough world. We get lonely, we want to grow up so we can have “fun”, and no one at home seems to give us attention. That’s how I felt. All my friends had “boyfriends”, they all had “boobs”, they giggled at all the boys. And my folks were always working, or sleeping or watching t.v. I couldn’t wait to hit the night air, pull my jean jacket on and take a long swig out of a bottle…

My life changed forever. I see kids I knew with beautiful families, homes, and feeling good about themselves…I have spent the last 45 years recovering , healing my broken mind, my beaten body, and my crushed spirit… Please, please be aware that these things can happen.

My heart breaks for the families of children who just made that one error in judgement, never to be the same again.

If my experience could just get one person to think for a second before making a decision, then please, take it to heart. I am truly grateful to have survived the violence, God has seen fit to use me today. I hope you can draw close to Him too. He will never hurt or abandon you.

If something ever does happen to you, please find someone to talk to who can help. A rape/crisis center, or hotline can let you be anonymous if you want to. Please don’t carry it around inside. For me it just hurt too bad to keep in. But when I let it out and got help, I began a wonderful healing journey!

I wish you love, and peace tonight. Just be aware.Resized952019040395161126957622Resized952019040395155335959016

Re-Abused, Re-Raped, Re-Traumatized

I did something today that has me all twisted up inside like it just happened…And I thought I was SO far Over It, So Healed, So Strong, So SMART. All the years and years and years of therapy, and here I am again. Bruised, tattered, and lying on the cold floor of a dark green tent, somewhere in the woods near Coraopolis, Pennsylvania. I was a thirteen year old misfit of a girl, never had a real boyfriend, only been kissed once, a true virgin in the full sense, with a facefull of glasses and buck teeth…all I had wanted when I set out was a sleepover with my 2 best friends.

But here I was, in the wee hours of the next morning, dirty and snotty-faced from screaming and crying, bruised from the force of the 2 young men who had raped me, naked and bleeding with my underwear now flying from a tree near the bonfire. “the two young men”h Ha! Who am I kidding?  The animals, the dirty rotten dogs who stole my honor, and ruined me forever. From the shame of my friends seeing me, when they woke up and sobered up, and their stony rejection that claimed I had “stolen their boyfriends”, a rejection that lasted for years…to my father’s face when I was shoved out of the guys’ car at 7 am, when he saw my smeared face and smelled the stink of sex and Southern Comfort on me, his thirteen year old child, and when his face screwed into an ugly mask and uttered the searing, scorching words: “You’re disgusting…”and turned his back on me and slammed the door…

It all just came back, hitting me like a sledgehammer, when I looked up the rapists on Facebook, and saw found one of them, bald now and married for 25 or so “happy ” years… How dare they have happy , normal lives? I didn’t know I was still so angry, so scarred…

I will turn 55 tomorrow. I spent twenty 23 of those years as an Alcoholic and Drug Addict,Dealer, Thief , a violent, broken girl who never had a loving relationship with a man her whole adult life. Every single one was abusive, punching me, kicking me, choking, even stabbing me and shooting at me…(and that was the one I married!)

But, you know, I am someone those rapists can never claim to be. I am honest now, and clean, sober, forgiven, loved, and working hard on being whole. I am sorry for all my mistakes, and sorry for all the hurt I have caused. My God has forgiven me, by his Son’s Ransom Sacrifice. And now I will get my bearings back, I will take a deep breath, and let all that anger and shame go… I will pray for the  a calm heart and a healed mind, and I ask God to help me to help others get on the road to life… I may never be completely free of the flashbacks in this current world, but one day, when God makes this earth a paradise and does away with all wickedness, I will never think about these matters or feel that pain again.

Whew…

Many Days Since

I am here again, on lock down of my own making. Wanting the isolation while longing for company. I feel unsure, unsteady, and oh, so tired. The dialogue inside my head has slowed, and the gist of it is dire, down and miserable. I hate myself like this, and that adds to my misery because I know self loathing feeds the beast.

I was SO high, So amped up about the Chicago show, the heady whirlwind of celebrities and dazzling attention. I counselled myself about letting my ego run wild, but that didn’t stop my stream of self promotion, so now I feel the embarrassment of mediocrity . It is just so tiring, this circle of negative emotions, this seemingly endless stream of feeling worthless.

I had a feeling that I was riding too high, and that my joyful blasting energy stream was going to fizzle into a mega-void. And my therapist at SunCoast had cut me down to not seeing her every couple weeks, rather to just making appointments if I need to…So this has translated into feelings of rejection, and is keeping me immobolized from calling her for an appointment. I must hold on to the fact that this will pass… this darkness is only temporary… I have to believe this fact and own this fact, and believe that all my efforts to push thru this depression will, in the end, succeed!

This is the emotional space that can kill, when we Bipolar’s can give up and feel so powerless and alone that we embrace the darkness , in the futile hope that the fall into non existence will stop the pain. I must not go that far down the rabbit hole, because that reasoning is from the Father of the Lie, Satan. While suicide may stop the mental anguish that we ourselves are feeling, the unimaginable pain and suffering that our loved ones will feel must stay our hands. I must never believe the lie that I am worthless.

God does not think we are worthless. He loves me, and cherishes me. I have to hold that thought, and believe in God’s love with every fiber of my being. Hold on to Him with both hands and with all my strength. He won’t let us suffer endlessly. He knows our pain, and soon the relief will come.

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“The Sentinel’s Prayer”, acrylic on canvas, Susan T. Martin2017

Long Time Gone, a poem…

The wind blows, my mind slips

back into some disturbing dream.

Was it me then, or is it me now?

I can’t believe where I have been.

I yearn for escape, memories come

reminding me what I have done.

 

I chose a new way, on a hopeful day,

changed my methods and my means…

But my old ways from the old days

chase me down and make me scream..

Please hear me, God, and help me heal-

I know and trust your love is real!

Please pick me up, please keep me safe…

no more violence , hate or rape!

 

Jah hears my prayer, He keeps me strong,

He is beside me all along.

I always know just where to turn,

to be near His throne, follow His Word.

There may be times when I will fear,

” The day of reckoning is here!”

Then my faith will come and I will stand,

and see salvation by His hand .    a poem by Susan T. Martin May 18 , 2018

 

Musings on a Tuesday

Hello dear Friends,

It has been such a struggle during this cold and gloomy weather to drag myself out of bed, to put my feet on the floor, to be motivated at all. I have in my mind always that I should be helping other people to come to know Jehovah, to help them see His great love for them. That I pray daily for these things is some comfort, but this huge burden of immobility just crushes me down and makes me feel unworthy, and lazy.,

Over and over I have been reminded that Satan uses this as a tactic, that discouragement can distance us and keep us stuck in the mire of self hate, the sediment of low self esteem and depression. Recently at my meeting for worship

we went over the fact that those feelings can be overcome by considering the ransom of Jesus Christ, and by earnest prayer for soundness of mind, which is promised to God’s faithful ones.

It is very easy for me to not take the steps I need to take, but then the way to death is a wide and spacious road the Bible tells us, while the road to life is a narrow and cramped one. I must struggle thru the weeds and brambles on this hard and narrow road, not fall prey to the worldly wolves and lies that are strewn about like stumbling blocks. Keeping my eyes fastened on the light I see before me at the head of the path I will throw off these burdens and keep climbing.

Physically I may be weighed down, and my mind and body are full of sin and imperfection, and my breaths come more shallow and labored than ever before. But just like the Bible says at 2 Corinthians 4:16-18,” Therefore, we do not give up, but even if the man outside is wasting away, certainly the man we are inside is being renewed from day to day.(17) For though the tribulation is momentary and light, it works out for us a glory that is of more and more surpassing greatness and is everlasting,(18) while we keep our eyes, not on the things seen, but on the things unseen. For the things seen are temporary, but the things unseen are everlasting.”

I hope no one else suffers from the disquieting thoughts that I do, recurring images of the life I once lived, that come unbidden to frighten and distract me. But these I know, and I want others’ to know, will one day vanish forever, and will NEVER AGAIN poison our lives. We will be free from all the flashbacks, all the debris, all the residual effects our current circumstances inflict on us. I believe this, I  know and have faith in this fact this because God has promised it to me, and to all who serve Him .

I want to read it now, so I will write it down here:

Revelation 21:3-5 With that I heard a loud voice from the throne say: “Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his people. And God himself will be with them. (4) And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away”.(5)And the One seated on the throne said, “Look! I am making all things new”. Also he says, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”

What incredibly beautiful words. What a certain promise.

I feel better already!

Where Am i? Where Have i been?

Strange days, these. People are acting wild, out of control. There is fear in their eyes, urgency in their speech. Anger in their hearts.

I have been running away again, from storms, from memories, from emotions. Thankfully running towards God, who has taken me in, again. I am so grateful.

I had a bad episode last night. The rabbit hole. I was in and falling fast, the need was to cut and run-out the door, into the street-no looking back. The memories flooding in, the doubt, the helplessness, loneliness, the inevitability of it all… 

I had to find a way to STOP! , and I could not. I began to panic, and sobbed to God, to please , please intervene before I disappeared completely. I had nearly lost my grip when I could feel the glimmer of a change- like a tiny golden wisp of thread-blowing in my direction. Kind of like the tiniest branch coming towards me, or a vein full of golden “life blood”.

The thread reached me, thru the darkness, or perhaps I reached for it- maybe both? I felt my panic lessen, my breathing subside just an eensie bit. More prayer, more sobs, more beseeching, the thread grew side threads, auxiliary branches that began to wrap around my heart.

This force gave me the strength to pick up my Bible, all dove gray and soothing, and it opened to the 65th Psalm. The words like chamomile tea, like warm fuzzy socks on my troubled hands, my aching head.

He is there, He sent me help. Jehovah hears, He knows.

I begged for an angel, and He sent His Word to me.

I saw hope in the shape of golden light, threads of golden light to wrap around my broken heart. To bind me up until the final healing comes.

(The big bad wolf has had his day, and now the sheep can come out and play. In the freedom of untroubled love, We shall serve Our God above!!!)

Maybe I sound like a raving lunatic, but I honestly do not mind, because I know what happened last night.

Jehovah saved me from the trap of the birdcatcher, to live another glorious day. He put the Bible in my hand, a song in my mouth, and words of praise on my lips. The raging sea is calm now, the outlook serene.

Come storms, if you dare. Jehovah’s outstretched arm is not too short. jehovah always saves those loyal to Him.

Praise Him in the Heights! Praise Him in the Heavens, and On the Earth below!

It WILL NOT BE LATE!!!!